0230 Rejection or Salvation
Encounter Radio Outline #0230
Air date: 7/28/02
God's Sovereignty in Relation to the Rejection of Israel:
Rejection or Salvation
by Dr. Stephen F. Olford
Introduction: Having considered God’s sovereignty in relation to the election of Israel, Paul now treats his subject from the human point of view. He shows that we can never appreciate the nature of God’s sovereignty without understanding the posture of man’s responsibility. Thus while there is the biblical doctrine of election, there is likewise the biblical doctrine of rejection. In this section, Paul shows why the rejected Jews were responsible for their own apostasy. They rejected God, He did not reject them. Thus God can never be blamed for His sovereign action toward the unbelieving Jews. God’s sovereign dealings with men are based upon His eternal word and His effectual will. Our God is an unchanging God. His ways are altogether righteous, and therefore, eternally immutable.
I. Israel’s Rejection of the Promise of God’s Salvation in Christ (9:30-31, 33)
In summing up this chapter, Paul points out the contrast between the Gentiles who had only the light of conscience and the Jews who possessed the sevenfold privileges of divine revelation already detailed in verses 4-5. In spite of their disadvantages, however, the Gentiles embraced “the righteousness of faith” (v. 30). The Jews, who followed after the law of righteousness, did not attain their goal because they sought it by their own human effort rather than by faith. In His sovereignty, God foresaw this negative attitude and inspired His servant to foretell it (Is. 8:14; 28:16; see also 1 Pet. 2:6-7). If only they had realized the truth of these words, they would have embraced the Messiah when He came in the flesh. Instead, they stumbled at that stone of stumbling (v. 32). This simply means:
A. Israel Rejected the Birth of Christ (v. 32)
Even though the chief priests and scribes could point without hesitation to the prophecy of Micah concerning the birth of Christ in Bethlehem of Judea, they stumbled at this truth. Instead of Christ’s coming being a rock of defense, it became a “rock of offense” (v. 33).
B. Israel Rejected the Life of Christ
The entire 53rd Chapter of the prophecy of Isaiah is a detailed and dramatic account of Israel’s rejection of the life and ministry of God’s suffering Servant.
C. Israel Rejected the Death of Christ (1 Cor. 1:23)
The Jews were prepared to accept the prophecies concerning the Messiah’s coming in power and glory, but they stumbled at the equally clear prophecies concerning His meekness, humiliation and death. Instead of believing on the Lord Jesus and proving Him to be their center of confidence and their deliverance from all shame, they despised and rejected Him.
II. Israel’s Rejection of the Plan of God’s Salvation in Christ (vv. 1, 3, 13)
As in the opening words of Chapter 9 of this epistle, Paul expresses the passion of his heart for his “kinsmen according to the flesh” (vv. 1-3). If ever there was a man who longed to see Israel saved, it was this mighty apostle. But in spite of his prayers and his travail of soul, he records that Israel rejected the plan of God’s salvation in Christ. This rejection was due to three serious causes:
A. Israel’s Reliance on Self-Righteousness (vv. 2- 3)
Paul points out that zeal not regulated by knowledge leads to the substitution of error and inspires a persecuting spirit. Even as he dictated these words, he could recall how he made havoc of the church of Christ, haling men and women to prison and causing them to blaspheme. He, too, had kicked against the stone of stumbling until his eyes were opened to see in Christ the saving Rock of Ages.
B. Israel’s Rebellion at Law-Righteousness (vv. 3-5)
The Jews refused to subject themselves to the standards and requirements of God’s holy law. No one save our Lord Jesus Christ ever fulfilled the law in every detail. Thus, even though they appeared outwardly to fulfill the letter of the law, in point of fact Paul and his Jewish brethren rebelled at the spirit of the law in their hearts.
C. Israel’s Resistance to Faith-Righteousness (v. 6)
While the Gentiles embraced the righteousness that is by faith (9:30), Israel, who had the benefit of divine revelation (9:4-5), chose to work out their own way of salvation by the works of the law. For this reason they were rejected by God. In other words, they resisted “the righteousness of faith” (v. 6). In the verses that follow, the way of salvation is supernaturally accomplished (vv. 6-8), individually accepted (vv. 9-10), and universally available (vv. 11-13).
Conclusion: God’s free and full salvation is universally available to every Jew and Gentile who dares to believe and call upon the name of the Lord. How sad to think of the way in which the nation Israel has rejected “the faith-righteousness” that is in Christ their Messiah and Lord!
Now Paul concludes this 10th chapter by revealing one more aspect of Israel’s negative attitude:
(continued in radio outline 0231)
Stephen Olford Center for Biblical Preaching
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Phone: (901) 757-7977 or (800) 843-2241 Fax: (901) 757-1372
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